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8 Things To Know Before Starting A Reward And Recognition Program

6 min read
Last Updated on 28 January, 2021
8 Things To Know Before Starting A Reward And Recognition Program

A strong reward and recognition program is the backbone of employee engagement in organizations. To meet the changing employee needs, a dynamic R&R program has become an inseparable part of great workplaces. The better the R&R program, the more likely an employee will go the extra mile to perform well and be a well-wisher for the company.

Research says that employers with a good recognition scheme earn significantly higher productivity, revenue, and lower employee retention than those who didn’t try it.

The act of giving recognition varies from organization to organization, and how you appreciate employees depend on your unique company needs, abilities and values.

Celebrating work anniversaries, birthdays, great works or awarding employees of the month/ year are the most common forms of recognition. Nowadays, many leaders seek other creative ways to spend on their employees like daily wins, a wall of fame or a spontaneous treat to kick back and relax.

They aim to design an effective recognition program bearing in mind things like budget, ease-to-use, time, and most importantly, quality. Apart from these, as a guide to creating a successful, sustainable program, being a company leader, you must consider these eight things.

Here are the 8 Important Things Of Employee Reward And Recognition Program

1. Know Your Employee Needs

The primary aim of a rewards and recognition program is to make employees feel good. So, the very first thing that you should consider here is knowing- what makes your employees happy.

Initially, every growing R&R program will need to do a little research. It will help in framing a customized program to accommodate employee wants and needs, making the program more likely to be successful.

Here comes the role of office focus groups (or an employee recognition committee). They can meet and discuss the needs that their R&R Program should meet. This gives them a feeling of involvement in the process of developing the program. As they know that their opinions matter, it helps to kick starts the entire process of recognition.

2. Research Why You Want The Program

Before getting down to the nitty-gritty of recognition and rewards ideas, know why you want to implement the program. What is the purpose of developing a rewards system and what do you hope to accomplish by establishing one?

You know that it would make your employees content, but what will it serve to the company?

No employee recognition program is successful without a specific company goal. Some common goals include:

  • Taking the retention rate up
  • Increasing productivity
  • Attracting talents
  • Improving daily performance and innovation

Consider your company objectives in choosing your program. Will the program provide rewards for your salespeople to reach a higher sales target? Or if your company has been working on a large project, will it help push someone go above and beyond the call of duty?
A researched, established plan for how employees can receive recognition encourages the employees to contribute good work.

3. Determine The Eligibility Criteria, And Award Frequency

Once your employees know what can bring them rewards and recognition, it’s time to let know who is eligible for it. You should consider the following.

Are both temporary/ and permanent employees eligible? Part-timers? Interns?

What will be the minimum length of service an employee must have with the company to be eligible? What about the newcomers?

Can the same employee receive the reward more than once?

Can those involved in the selection committee be eligible as well?

At the same time, you must make sure that you define the frequency of the rewards, for example – weekly, monthly or yearly, etc. Research says that 71% of highly engaged employees work in organizations that recognize employees at least once per month.

Here are some factors to consider when determining the frequency of awards for a department.

  • Do you have enough departmental funds to cover the cost of the awards?

  • Are the number of participating employees too less to make the program work?

  • Can your employees share an award title at the same time? Or will it devalue the recognition?

  • Is there another ongoing recognition program in the department?

4. Fix The Criteria Of Winning

This can be handled in two steps. First, decide how the candidates will be brought into the limelight. Who will be the person to decide? Will you go for a nomination system? If yes, determine who can nominate and when. You can try considering a nomination form here.

Second, you have to ascertain how you will choose a winner from the pool of nominated candidates. Incorporating both manager and peer-to-peer recognition can prove to be the most effective.

5. Avoid The One Size Fits All Strategy

The employee recognition ideas that work for another company might not work for you. Even within departments, awards may vary for different accomplishments. The following things should be taken into account while choosing awards for your employees:

Size of your company: Nowadays, businesses of all sizes and structures, create reward systems that benefit their culture and goals. To truly find the best option, it’s important to keep in mind what rewards and recognition strategy is best suited to your organizational size.

In small-sized companies, it is easier to adopt, amend and work with an R&R program. But in larger organizations (with complex hierarchical structures), you would require a different scheme that satisfies those employees with higher pay scales.

Culture of your company: The culture of your company represents certain predefined plans which guide the employees with a sense of direction at the workplace. Additionally, the work culture promotes healthy relationships amongst the employees cultivating a sense of belonging and commitment towards the organization.

Make sure your R&R program is applicable to your culture and demographics. It engages them fully with the program and is a great way to communicate efforts and achievements.

Age of the workforce: It is indeed a challenge if you are trying to bring your multi-age team together in accomplishing a shared goal. But, once you understand how each age group wants to be motivated, it can be accomplished easily.

In order to avoid age-related differences, your programs should be open to customization. It will offer your employees the option to choose rewards that are individualized and meaningful to them.

Many recognition programs consist of a selection of gift cards an employee can pick from a catalog. This is probably one of the best ways to deal with individual preferences.

Knowledge of the employees: With the increase in knowledge-based specialized workforce and high technology penetration, the complexities related to the R&R program have magnified.

People work hard to cultivate their expertise, and as per research, 53% of employees say respect for their knowledge and experience is the best recognition. Your R&R program should praise employees for their skills, providing motivation to develop it further.

6. Type Of Recognition And Rewards

It can be tangible trophies and medals or some branded stuff, or lifestyle products, or be intangible and allow employees to choose from various experiences and opportunities, or even monetary gifts. You can give out gift cards, or let your employees choose their own reward.

Select the rewards so that your employee knows exactly what they are being recognized for. An appreciation letter saying “You did a great job.” might not always work. Public recognition makes it all the more meaningful with long-lasting effects.

7. Choose The Right Partner

Making the right R&R program can be difficult. If done wrong, you not only risk throwing your money to the wind; you could also part with your teams. So, it’s always better to be on the safer side and it all starts with finding an expert partner.

65% of companies who use a recognition partner found "excellent” values in the program.

A great platform provides a great opportunity to keep your employees productive with the right solutions within the flow of work. It ensures a long term impact by infusing R&R into the workplace culture.

Nowadays, the cloud-based platforms allow employees to recognize and share positive feedback about peers on panels that everyone can see throughout the year. Employees collect ‘points’ which can be redeemed as rewards. Unlike a formal R&R program, they are easy, interactive and fun! And interestingly, their plans fit any team size!

8. Announce, Educate And Inspire

Once you have figured out the entire program, it’s time to tell all your employees about the idea. You can send an emailer or put up a notification in the bulletin board for everyone to be aware of the program.

Explain what, how and why. Educate why recognition is important, and how to give recognition in a meaningful way. Try establishing a creative employee recognition program that reflects your organization’s values and inspires employees.

Winding It Up

It is very important to make your company program work as you want. For that, if you can brainstorm some other pre-factors that you feel important, apply it! Also, let us know in the comments section below.

This article is written by Susmita Sarma, a digital marketer at Vantage Circle. She was involved with media relations before shifting her interest in research and creative writing. Apart from being a classical music buff, she keeps a keen interest in anchoring and cooking. For any related queries, contact